ntpd fails to start if terminals are closed before ntpd's child process can open new fds. Testing with HAVE_CLOSEFROM in config.h doesn't have this issue.
Before restrarting ntpd from A:
$ ntpq -pn
remote refid st t when poll reach delay offset jitter
north-america.p .POOL. 16 p - 64 0 0.000 0.000 0.002
*220.127.116.11 18.104.22.168 2 u 1 64 1 87.964 -2.998 2.572
Using something like the following to restart ntp on an array of machines:
for m in A B C; do ssh -t "$m" 'sudo service ntpd restart' ; done
Later from host A:
Dec 23 18:40:57 <ntp.notice> A ntpd: ntpd 4.2.8p9-a (1): Starting
$ ntpq -pn
ntpq: read: Connection refused
ntpd fails to finish starting up and silently fails. The same is true from B and C.
Running the same without ssh's -t or sleeping before the connection closes allows ntpd child to startup. This assumes the user can run sudo without a password:
for m in A B C; do ssh "$m" 'sudo service ntpd restart' ; done
for m in A B C; do ssh -t "$m" 'sudo service ntpd restart; sleep 1' ; done
Testing ntpd from the relang/11.0 branch with '#define HAVE_CLOSEFROM 1' in config.h appears to solve the problem.
This will cause libntp/ntp_worker.c close_all_beyond() to use closefrom(2) that appears to not suffer the same issue as the two other ifdef's.
However, the issue appears to be contrib/ntp/ doesn't have a test to see if the system has closefrom(2) so it appears we have to add it manually?
This was initially found when restarting ntpd on a legion of machines via ansible. I'd suspect other config management tools that use ssh with pseudo-terminals would suffer the same issue. The above is a raw example of what something like ansible might perform.
This is also a problem in 9.3 and 10.x